A scoring drought that lasted 2:59 in the fourth quarter was the deciding factor as the Florida Tech women dropped their season opener to West Georgia on Friday, 75-69 at the SSC/GSC Challenge in Tampa.
Senior forward Aniquah Swan led the Panthers with 22 points, and sophomore guard November Morton had 13. Junior guard Fanny Hakanson had four points but dished out 10 assists and had three rebounds and a steal.
Those three players will be counted on heavily this season considering Florida Tech lost its top three scorers from last season, Tereza Sedlakova, Gracie Doane, and Kailyn Ebb. Freshmen newcomers Fanny Paulin and Severine Uggen combined for 11 points.
The Wolves came out hot in this one, with three 3-pointers in the first three and a half minutes. They started five-of-six from deep and went 7-of-9 from the field, putting the Panthers behind the eight ball early, 19-6.
Florida Tech (0-1) got a late three from Amanda Allen but found themselves down 27-17 after the first 10 minutes.
Morton hit an early three in the second quarter and her free-throws capped an 11-0 run and cut what was a 14-point West Georgia lead to 31-30. The Wolves turned the ball over four times in that stretch to help the Panthers get back into the game. West Georgia would find its footing at the end of the half and lead 39-34.
The Panthers started slowly in the third quarter, but Swan and Uggen each scored and cut the Wolves lead to 48-44. The Wolves got going again, but a three by Pauli made it 50-49 with three minutes left in the quarter. Swan had a key block a couple of minutes later that turned into a nice hoop for junior guard Cheyenne Scott, giving the Panthers a 53-52 lead with 1:51 left. It was the Panthers’ first lead of the day.
West Georgia (1-0) would bounce back to score the next five points and they ended the quarter with a 57-53 lead.
The Wolves lead would fluctuate between six and eight points for much of the fourth, with the Panthers cutting it to four, before the scoring drought took hold, ultimately doing the Panthers in.
For more info: Florida Tech @ West Georgia Box Score
Florida Tech finished 26-for-61 from the field, good for 42.6 percent. They were 3-of-11 from long distance and went 12-of-16 (75 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Panthers will look to rebound against Spring Hill College on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.